midstream

Philip Luna is a man on the go, and if you work for him at Houston-based UniversalPegasus International (UPI), you’d better be as well, even if it means getting to work for the 7 a.m. team meeting.

There’s little debate that switching from fuel oil to natural gas, with its lower emissions, domestic abundance and low and stable price point, represents an opportunity for fuel-intensive businesses in North America. There’s also no argument that pipelines are the best method for delivering gas. But for businesses located off a pipeline route, the tumble in natural gas prices hasn’t benefited them nearly as much as it has their competition. For some, pipeline projects may come eventually; for others, there is no construction even being discussed.

Growth in production of domestic light crude and increased exportation of heavy crude led to substantial additional investments in pipelines and other midstream infrastructure during the year, according to data from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Massive shale-driven production growth in the Northeast and soaring demand from the Southeast will turn the nation’s traditional south-to-north and west-to-east pipeline natural gas flows and price spreads upside down, according to a report by market analysts at BENTEK Energy.

In a bid to fulfill a campaign promise, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed a change to the constitution to allow private companies to share in the development, transportation and refining of Mexico’s vast energy resources, which are reserved exclusively to Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). The changes would revert the constitution to its 1940 position, maintaining national ownership of all hydrocarbons but overturning 1950s-era changes that prevent any private interest participating in the energy industry.

During his 30 years in the energy business, Barry Davis has no doubt heard a fair amount of bluster and hyperbole about “big projects.” Yet, even a brief talk with the Crosstex president and CEO about the Cajun-Sibon expansion project leaves the listener keenly aware that in his mind there can be no understating the importance of this endeavor to his company.

SemGroup Corp. completed its acquisition of the gas gathering and processing assets owned by Chesapeake Energy Corp. in the Mississippi Lime play for $300 million in cash.

Inter Pipeline Fund has entered into a binding agreement with Canexus Corp. to transport bitumen blend to Canexus unit train rail loading operations near Bruderheim, Alberta. Under the terms of the 10-year agreement, Inter Pipeline will provide Canexus with 100,000 bpd of firm capacity on a new pipeline lateral from the Cold Lake Pipeline system.

Spectra Energy Partners LP and Spectra Energy Corp. will drop down Spectra Energy’s remaining U.S. transmission, storage and liquids assets to Spectra Energy Partners. The transaction is expected to close by year-end.

Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy recently hosted a conference, “Energy Market Globalization: Investment and Commodity Price Cycles and the Role of Geopolitics.” Much discussion focused on the relationships of oil prices to other economic indicators, and whether these relationships indicated that oil prices may tumble in the near future.

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